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SPORT: Super Eagles need guidance, says Mikel

John Obi Mikel. PHOTO: NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP


• Cameroun’s Coach Gives Up On Qualification

Super Eagles Captain, John Obi Mikel, has declared that they can beat any team in Africa if they play to their potential.Mikel, along with four other experienced heads, returned from injury to help mastermind the trouncing of their cross-border rivals, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun, during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Friday, and believes it’s just a taste of what’s to come from Gernot Rohr’s side.

“The players are very intelligent. They listen a lot and we all work together as a team,” he told journalists in the post-match press conference. “If we continue playing this way and do what we are doing now, we can beat anyone in Africa.”

Mikel, a veteran of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations triumph, added the Super Eagles’ second goal after setting up Odion Ighalo for the opener, and demonstrated just what an influential role he plays in Rohr’s reshaped squad.

“We have a very young team. I feel I have a responsibility every time I step on the pitch to play,” he said, adding, “This team needs experience, this team needs guidance. The players are good players, quick players but sometimes they need someone who can direct them, to make sure we have balance and that’s what we did today (Friday).

“I will do my best, I will carry this team same as I did in the Olympics,” the Tianjin TEDA midfielder said. “I want to make sure we go to the World Cup and qualify for the Nations Cup.”

Recovering from four months on the sidelines after knee surgery, Mikel said he worked hard to be ready for the game.“I knew I had to come back as quickly as possible. I spoke to the coach even before we lost the game against South Africa. We are always in contact. I told him the injury was a bad injury. I told him I would do what I can to get myself ready for this game. All I needed to do was to put my head down and just work, work, work...and that’s exactly what I did.

“I’m still not 100 per cent yet, but I promised him I would be here for this game and that’s exactly what I did. We communicate very well and the team is great.”“It’s not finished yet. We can go to Cameroun and get a good result - draw or a win - and that’s what we want to do.”

Meanwhile, Coach Hugo Broos has conceded defeat in Cameroun’s attempts to reach the 2018 World Cup after the African champions were thrashed by Nigeria.Cameroun face Nigeria again in Yaounde tomorrow, but Broos believes the Indomitable Lions have too much to do to qualify for next year’s World Cup.

“There is no pressure any more on Monday - Nigeria have nine points, we have two points,” Broos told BBC Sport.“We need to win all three games and Nigeria have to lose all three games, I don’t think that will happen. There is only honour to defend, there is no importance to this match.

“I just hope my players will have the same mentality that I have - that they will fight on Monday till the last minute to beat Nigeria.
“If we had won this game, we would have a chance, but we lost it and I hope everyone will learn from this.”




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